CHESHIRE police officers joined their counterparts from other forces across England and Wales yesterday, Wednesday, for ‘Operation Rogue Trader’.
The initiative was designed to stop offenders who cold call at people’s homes and over-charge for work they have allegedly done or commit distraction type burglaries, often targeting the elderly and the vulnerable.
More than 50 officers from Cheshire Constabulary worked alongside Trading Standards officers, Court Enforcement and Environment Agency officials from Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.
Five people were arrested and 12 Trading Standards offences were identified, which are now being investigated.
Neighbourhood policing teams throughout Cheshire were also out and about giving residents advice to stop them falling victim to rogue traders.
Roads policing officers utilised Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to conduct instant checks on suspicious vehicles or those suspected of being used by travelling criminals to commit doorstep crime. A total of 80 vehicles and their occupants were stop-checked across the county.
Det Con Paul Unwin, said: “This operation was aimed at disrupting and bringing to justice those committing offences of this nature, and also to offer prevention advice in our communities in a bid to prevent people falling victim to these crimes.
“We want to send out a strong message to all would-be rogue traders who may think that cold calling is an easy way to make a profit. Deceiving people on their doorstep and delivering poor quality, over-priced services is not an option in Cheshire.”
Police advise residents to be especially weary of traders knocking and offering services such as guttering, roofing or gardening, and callers claiming to work on behalf of a charity, utility company or the council.
A spokeswoman said: “If you have any suspicions or concerns ask the trader to leave, close the door and call the police or Trading Standards.
“Anyone with any concerns regarding doorstep callers can contact police on 0845 458 0000.”